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Thursday
Jun132013

US Still Debating Providing Arms for Syrian Rebels

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- No decision on arming Syrian rebels has been reached by the White House as members of President Obama's national security team appear divided over how to deal with President Bashar al-Assad's growing military might.

There had been expectations that the administration would soon provide some lethal support to rebel groups in Syria who have seen their gains erode recently in the face of al-Assad's military receiving advanced weaponry from Russia and Iran, as well as the addition of 5,000 Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon.

Obama has come under more pressure to send arms to the opposition, especially after the European Union lifted its embargo earlier this month.  However, it could still be months before Europe offers support in the way of weaponry.

The main concern of the president's national security advisors is that arms could fall into the hands of the Islamic militant groups with ties to al Qaeda, who seem to be better organized than the pro-democracy forces that began the insurrection 27 months ago.

These rogue units have transformed what had been a fight to bring democratic reform to Syria into a sectarian conflict, similar to what Iraq experienced from 2005 to 2007.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio